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Henkel Adhesive Technologies

Henkel Adhesive Technologies

Electric vehicle battery safety

Innovative solutions for fire protection and thermal propagation prevention in electric vehicle battery systems.
5 min.
Lab technician examining loctite sample

As the automotive industry races to meet net-zero emission targets through a massive shift towards electrification, ensuring battery safety remains as one of the most critical prerequisites for mass EV adoption, and therefore, a top priority for OEMs and battery manufacturers. With various reported cases of EVs catching fire in different contexts, manufacturers, consumers, and regulators look to the topic of fire protection and battery safety with an increased focus and concern over the safety of the passengers and the roads.

Lab technician examining loctite sample

Triggers of a fire event inside an EV lithium-ion battery

A fire event is typically triggered inside of the EV battery pack when the battery gets out of its “thermal comfort zone” and causes thermal propagation. The fire starts spreading from one cell throughout the entire battery pack, causing battery thermal runaway. This can be caused by three main abuse scenarios:

  • Mechanical abuse: For example, a collision or a puncture incident
  • Thermal abuse: For example, during a fast-charging cycle
  • Electrical abuse: For example, due to an internal or external short circuit event

Challenges to achieving battery fire protection

Based on the aforementioned points, the risk of fire due to a thermal runaway inside an EV battery pack remains as a possibility that cannot be fully omitted. Therefore, OEMs are looking for solutions to manage that risk and comply with a new wave of legal regulations on EV battery safety. In particular, focusing on giving the passengers enough time to evaluate the vehicle before the fire starts spreading outside of the battery pack and into the rest of the car body and the passenger cabin. However, finding an efficient and reliable solution that supports large-scale automated manufacturing is far from simple.

3D illustration of Teardown Illustration of Battery Pack Interior with Pouch Cells Battery

Design

As EV battery technologies continue to develop rapidly, the battery design landscape is highly dynamic and fragmented. OEMs require battery safety solutions that integrate well with their current designs, while simultaneously looking for future-oriented solutions for their next-generation designs and subsequent requirements.

Therefore, as a complete solution provider, we are always working closely and flexibly with our customers to develop and implement tailor-made products and technologies that cater to the wide variety of designs, application needs, and technical requirements that come along across our broad base of global customers.

Processability and automation

With skyrocketing demand projections for EVs, OEMs are looking for battery fire protection solutions that can integrate seamlessly with their manufacturing process and that can be applied in an automated way.

As a long-time trusted partner to the automotive industry, Henkel understands this and therefore develops innovative solutions designed for automated large-scale production. In addition, our customers benefit from access to Henkel’s process expertise, global presence, and global partner network, taking advantage of technical support and deep guidance on testing, dispensing, and overall process setup.

Sustainability

OEMs and battery manufacturers are on the lookout for fire protection material solutions that would help them achieve their sustainability goals, for example on CO2 emissions and circular economy, and ultimately contribute to a clean and sustainable shift towards zero-emissions mobility.

At Henkel, sustainability has been part of our DNA since our foundation. In recent years, we have been making rapid progress on all fronts, aiming to reach our bold ambition of being climate positive by 2030. In light of that, we are committed to using non-hazardous and environmentally friendly materials in our solutions. In addition, our solutions are optimized for automated applications, leading to savings in energy and waste due to high accuracy and efficiency. Moreover, we ensure that circularity and recyclability are taken into account from the earliest phases of product development.

Battery safety solutions

Henkel offers a wide selection of battery solutions which are critical for EV batteries. These include coatings, potting and gasketing materials designed to offer the reliable and effective results.

1. Fire and heat shielding coatings

Fire and heat shielding coatings are flame retardant materials that can be applied on the inside or the outside of the battery pack lid, providing a highly protective shield against the spread of fire and heat. These coatings from Henkel provide excellent environmental resistance, strong adhesion to multiple substrates, and support automated dispensing through Flat Stream and Spray Coating applications.

Battery safety coating application

2. Thermal propagation prevention potting

Potting materials provide a protective fire-resistant interface with a defined thermal conductivity. Our potting materials provide suitable viscosity for battery applications, in addition to fast processibility and high automation.

Illustrative image showing the application of Henkel's battery safety potting for cylindrical cells

3. Battery safety pads

Battery safety pads are designed to protect prismatic and pouch cells from the risk of thermal propagation. We offer a wide range of lightweight safety pads with excellent heat resistance and compression properties with fully automated application.

3D illustration of Fire Protective Pad with Prismatic Cells

4. Gasketing

The sealing of the battery pack requires a gasketing material between the battery pack housing and the lid, with the primary aim of protecting the inside of the battery pack against the external environment. In the possible case of a battery thermal runaway, the gasket needs to resist the high temperate and subsequent fire to prevent leakage and spread outside of the battery pack.

3D illustration of Battery Pack with gasketing

Enabling EV Battery Safety

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